Iowa lawmakers propose a ban on same-sex marriage

Almost eight years after the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage and several months after Congress codified gay nuptials, Iowa lawmakers proposed to ban such unions in their state constitution.

“In accordance with the laws of nature and nature’s God, the state of Iowa recognizes the definition of marriage to be the solemnized union between a biological human male and a biological human female,” says the common resolutionintroduced Tuesday by eight Republican members of the state House.

If the measure becomes law, it would conflict with the Supreme Court’s historic 2015 decision to legalize same-sex marriage in the country, Obergefell v. Hodges, and Congress. bipartisan passage of the respect for marriage Act at the end of last year. Therefore, it is not clear that such a law could be enforced, since federal law and the federal Constitution take precedence over state law.

State Rep. Brad Sherman, one of the bill’s eight co-sponsors, said in an email that the joint resolution “will take several years to accomplish.”

“If the people of Iowa vote for such an amendment, the laws should be adjusted to make the laws fair for everyone,” he said.

The seven other co-sponsors did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Many Iowa Democrats were quick to criticize the proposal, saying it would take the state – which became one of the first to legalize same-sex marriage in 2009 – “.in the back.”

“No, @IowaGOP, we will not return to the days when committed, loving same-sex couples do not have the same right to marriage equality as everyone else,” State Rep. Sami Scheetz tweeted. “This kind of disgusting hate and backward thinking has no place in Iowa. And I will fight every day.”

Separately, eight Republican lawmakers – six of whom also proposed the joint resolution introduced another bill on Tuesday, HF 508which would allow state residents not to recognize same-sex marriages on religious grounds and says certain elements of the Respect for Marriage Act are “null and void” in Iowa.

“The state of Iowa also recognizes the deep historical and religious roots that have uniformly defined and understood marriage as the union between a man and a woman,” says the text of the bill later. “Therefore, no resident of Iowa shall be compelled, coerced, or compelled to recognize any union or ceremony of the same sex as marriage, notwithstanding any law to the contrary which may exist in other states, and no legal action, criminal or civil, shall not be. be taken against citizens in Iowa for the refusal or failure to recognize or participate in unions or ceremonies of the same sex.”

Sherman, who also sponsored the second measure, defended the bill, arguing that it “doesn’t try to tell same-sex couples what to believe.”

“If they want to call their relationship a marriage, they are free to do so; that is freedom,” Sherman said in an email. “But, by the same token, people who don’t define same-sex unions as marriage should not be forced to do so.”

The seven other Republican co-sponsors did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Although previously common, state proposals to ban or restrict same-sex marriage have been unusual since the 2015 Obergefell decision, several policy experts said. They said the two marriage bills introduced Tuesday are the result of the national culture wars over LGBTQ issues.

“People should take inflammatory, position-based bills with a grain of salt,” Anthony Kreis, a professor at Georgia State University College of Law, said in an email. “This is the type of legislative proposal designed to create a buzz and generate attention.”

More than 300 bills aimed at LGBTQ people have been introduced in state legislatures this year, according to counts from the American Civil Liberties Union and a separate group of researchers that follow the legislation.

The majority focuses on transgender youth. However, a lawmaker in Mississippi has also proposed legislation to ban same-sex marriage this year; the bill died in committee shortly after its introduction.

“This is just the latest salvo in a long line of attacks that continue to get more and more extreme every day,” said Keenan Crow, the policy and advocacy director for LGBTQ advocacy group One Iowa. “Now we’re saying that ‘we don’t have to follow what the federal government says, what the federal courts say, because we want to harm LGBTQ people so much that we’re willing to destroy our federal system to accommodate the prejudices of these lawmakers.’ “

Support for same-sex marriage has grown among Republican voters and some Republican lawmakers. However, the the most recent platform of the Republican National Committee – enacted in 2016 and renewed in 2020 – includes at least five references to marriage as being exclusively between a man and a woman.

This article was originally published in

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